In the complex, fast paced and globally competitive world in which we live today, teams and organizations who wish to survive and thrive must possess two fundamental characteristics — an actively engaged work force, and extraordinary results.
If the perfect environment or market conditions exist, it is possible for an organization to produce great results over the short term without a culture of engaged people. Such results may not be sustainable, however, if the circumstances in which the organization functions begin to change. The possibility of the organization becoming noncompetitive, irrelevant or extinct will increase.
An actively engaged workforce is defined by a culture of highly engaged people who uphold such key principles as individual responsibility, high trust, clear communication, healthy conflict, high level of commitment, and accountability. Actively engaged people have a positive attitude, demonstrate a passion and commitment to organizational goals, proactively work on solutions to problems, and find meaning and purpose in their work. The opposite of this situation would then be a culture of disengaged people where negative attitudes, low trust, excuses, blaming and apathy are common throughout the workplace.
Generally people want to be part of, and commit to something greater than self. If an individual feels trusted, coached, appreciated, heard and included, he or she will be more productive and more likely to give back commitment to the team and passion about the results.
How does leadership accomplish this? One of the key tools is to develop a “coaching culture” where every individual in the organization is coached one-on-one in a structured, measured, and consistent way. The purpose of the coaching culture is to communicate expectations, and help people individually develop in their competencies and performance. It helps insure that people are in the right roles, also providing documentation for “getting the wrong people off the bus.”
The key to the success of developing a coaching culture is training, measurement, and accountability. To bring about a culture change, you have to do more than just talk about it. There must be consistency and measurement of both quantity and quality of coaching. Coaching must become a core competency of the organization from top management to front line supervisors.
What does a coaching process look like that would help create and sustain a culture of actively engaged people?
Begin with trustworthy people
Communicate clear expectations--define what success looks like
Equip and train people to do the job
Step Back, allowing them to succeed or fail
Observe and identify the gaps between expectations and performance
Coach the gaps; give encouragement, and positive reinforcement
Gain commitment to action
Continue to observe behaviors and performance.
Continue to coach and give positive reinforcement
Raise the bar, and increase expectations
I have personally observed how this process works; energy and increased results will emanate from a culture of actively engaged people. A structured, measured process of coaching everyone from management to hourly workers can help leadership build the culture that will produce the sustainable results. To make this happen, however, leadership must first be fully aligned with the idea that it is not them who produce the results, but their people. The job of leadership is to define what success will look like, and then create the culture. The people will deliver the extraordinary results, and in the process find meaning and purpose in their life.
Team Trek is a world-class provider of leadership training, team building, coaching and culture programs. Go to www.teamtrek.com/subscribe to receive the next Journal in your inbox.